There are two people I’m deeply, bitterly sad that I’ll never get to meet.
The first was Douglas Adams. He died in 2001, not even 50 years old.
When I was a kid, my uncle bought me a copy of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s now one of my comfort books. For a few years, I practically had it memorised.
The thing about Douglas was that he told these wonderful stories but he also got technology. Deeply, instinctively, passionately. To the degree that he would write things like How to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet, in 1999.
I feel so sad that Douglas never got to see the iPhone or the iPad.
And now Steve is gone, too, not even 60.
I’m a second-generation Apple convert. I didn’t used them the first time round. I’d been a PC kid my whole life.
And that Titanium PowerBook was the first laptop I bought.
I got into Apple when Steve came back.
His whole positioning of Apple as the intersection of technology and liberal arts, his remarks that computers are at their best when they are bicycles for the mind, that people on Metafilter will talk about Apple’s products as art supplies, not as computers, as things that have helped countless millions to be creative; I don’t think I can accurately or succinctly say exactly how inspirational he has been.
When I think about who my heroes are, I can’t think of two better people than Douglas and Steve. And I think it’s because of their passion and optimism around technology and storytelling; Douglas from a literal point of view and his subsequent evangelism, and Steve from his showmanship and – from what I can tell – sincere belief of how “computers” could and should be force multipliers for what it means to be a creative, emotional human being.
I don’t really think I can put it into words, but what I do know is this: I’d never met you, I never knew you, but I’ll miss you, Steve. You were fantastic.